Students at Dixie M. Hollins High School have started a petition asking principal Robert Florio, Pinellas County superintendent Michael Grego and the Pinellas County School Board to change the name and the mascot of the school.
The proposal calls for dropping Dixie from the name and calling the school Hollins High. It also wants the Rebel nickname to be replaced.
Florio has acknowledged the request and will meet with students in the next few weeks according to an email the students received.
The school, which opened in 1959, was initially called Northwest High but was soon changed to honor Dixie Martin Hollins, the first superintendent of Pinellas County Schools. He championed the rights of Black students and his estate still contributes to the school’s music program.
In the 1970s, the school was embroiled in civil unrest because of integration and a school ban on the use of the confederate flag. For years, locals referred to the school as Dixie and the athletic teams as the Dixie Rebels.
Jen Cox, the great-granddaughter of Dixie Hollins, supports the name changes and wants to talk to the school board about ways the family can help.
Should it happen?
Should the school change its name and go with a different nickname?
Time to vote.